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I live in Missouri and read stepchildren can receive

I live in Missouri...

I live in Missouri and read stepchildren can receive survivor benefits. Do I have to have full custody or joint custody to be eligible for benefits?

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
9/21/2017
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 18,167
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Thank you for using JustAnswer.

That's correct. A stepchild is eligible for benefits only if the stepparent financially supported the stepchild before becoming disabled or dying. (This is the same rule for biological and adopted children.) This means that stepchildren must have been receiving one-half of their support from their stepfather or stepmother. (If the stepparent is collecting retirement benefits, the stepparent must have been supporting the child when the child applied for dependents benefits.)

The child must be unmarried and:

  • under 18 years old
  • 19 years old and still in high school, or
  • disabled, and the disability occurred before the child turned 22 years old.

To be eligible for child’s survivors benefits, the stepchild must have been a stepchild of the deceased stepparent for at least nine months before the stepparent’s death. This means that the child’s parents must have been legally married for at least nine months. There are some exceptions to this rule, however: if the death of the stepparent was accidental or the result of active military duty, or if the parents legally adopted the stepchild, the marriage can have lasted fewer than nine months.

The amount of the benefit for a surviving stepchild is 75% of what the deceased stepparent’s monthly Social Security benefit would have been, but will be lower if other children or the surviving spouse collects a monthly benefit based on the deceased stepparent’s earnings record as well.

Benefits are generally paid to the surviving parent or the person who has the care and custody of the children. If the surviving spouse qualifies for survivor benefits, the children's benefits will be included in the monthly payment sent to the spouse.

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Even if I only have joint custody

Yes. Now only one can apply for the benefits. But assuming that you're the surviving parent, you can file for those benefits and receive them on behalf of your children.

ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 18,167
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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